The Eurobarometer surveys public opinion about the common agricultural policy (CAP). It was carried out in early December 2017 with over 28,000 EU citizens participating from 28 EU countries. Findings from the survey include:
- 61% of respondents believe that the CAP benefits all citizens and not just farmers;
- 55% see "providing safe, healthy food of good quality" as one of the main responsibilities of farmers. This is considered the single most important role played by farmers in every EU country;
- 62% of respondents (a six point increase since 2015) say that "providing safe, healthy and good quality food" should be the top priority for the EU’s CAP.
Previous Eurobarometer surveys offer additional insight into changes in data over the years.
Awareness of support
- 67% of respondents having heard of the support that the EU gives farmers through the CAP;
- little change in this figure over the past two surveys, going back to 2013;
- at least half of the respondents in all but one country had heard of the support that the EU gives farmers through the CAP.
In terms of performance, almost three-quarters of Europeans think that the CAP is fulfilling its role in securing a stable supply of food in the EU, thus supporting the principle of food security as a key objective. Other findings on performance indicate:
- 64% of respondents believe that the CAP is succeeding in its role in providing safe, healthy food of high quality;
- 62% think that it is ensuring a sustainable way to produce food.
Perceived importance of CAP priorities
Large majorities of those surveyed think that each of the CAP priorities are important:
- strengthening the farmers' role in the food chain;
- developing research and innovation;
- encouraging young people to enter the agricultural sector.
Some 88% of respondents think that strengthening the farmers' role in the food chain is important. Reflecting this, the Commission is committed to bringing forward legislative proposal on unfair trading practices in the food chain.
At the national level, the survey shows that in almost half of the EU there is clear support for European action to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers.
A policy for all the people of Europe
With just over 60% of respondents indicating that the CAP benefits all citizens, 92% think that agriculture and rural areas are important for the future.
At least half of all respondents in 24 of 28 EU countries agree that the CAP is fulfilling its role in protecting the environment and tackling climate challenges.
In 16 of 28 EU countries, at least half of all respondents agree that the CAP is fulfilling its role in creating jobs and growth in rural areas.
EU standards widely recognized
The importance of quality in the EU food and farming sector comes to fore again when citizens were questioned about issues of trade.
Environmental, animal and plant safety and quality standards all feature strongly among the priorities for citizens, farmers and the CAP itself. Most respondents believe that these same standards should apply in broad measure to imported food as well.
Some 87% of respondents said that imports of any origin should only be allowed to enter the EU if they comply with EU standards, a sentiment shared by a majority of citizens in 18 of the 28 EU countries.
The CAP maintains a cross compliance system to ensure there is a link between receipt of CAP support by farmers and a respect of a basic set of rules to maintain standards.
Quality a strong driver of choice
Given the importance most citizens give to the quality of the food produced in Europe, it is not surprising that it is also a key factor for them when deciding what to buy.
Over three quarters of respondents said that local tradition know-how, knowledge of the particular geographical area and a specific quality label were important in helping them decide what food products to buy, with local tradition in particular a major influence in almost all EU countries.
The EU has created specific labels so consumers can easily recognize products, in addition to quality schemes which aim to protect names of specific products.
More than 60% of respondents in every EU country said that labels played an important role in deciding what products to buy.